Only 1 in 6 runners get paid work through subscription services

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The administrators of the Facebook group “People looking for TV work: Runners” recently mounted a survey of its members to find out how many were paying for access to industry jobs through subscription sites.

267 people responded to the survey – the first of its kind – with around half having tried a paid for jobs site. The overwhelming majority felt that they offer poor value for money and only one in six paying subscribers to job sites had achieved paid work through their membership. Of the people who had been successful, many had secured only small amounts of work, mostly amounting to less than a week.

Six sites featured in the results:

  1. My First Job in Film and My First Job in TV

More people have signed up to these two sites than any other (60% of all respondents who had joined a paid service) but for most people their experience has been almost entirely negative. Less than 1 in 10 subscribers had achieved any paid work at all, and the work they did find was mostly for only a few days.

Respondents overwhelmingly felt that that the two sites were poor value for money and only 5% of people who had paid would recommend joining the site to others.

  • “My first job in film is ridiculously expensive and I have never had any response from any job applications on there. Apparently these posts are somewhere else and not exclusive as they always claim”.
  • “Makes you doubt your job application skills when you don’t hear anything back after 20+ applications, but when you read that so many other people have had a similar experience, questions are raised of the website”.
  • “My first job in film – only ever got in contact with me when I wanted to cancel my subscription. Very disappointing service”
  • “Lots of apparent jobs advertised, but in all the ones I’ve put my applications in for (a fair few!), I’ve only ever heard back from one”
  • “This service often takes jobs that are advertised for free elsewhere and claim they are exclusive to them, and require a paid subscription to apply. Very cheeky.”
  • “They take advantage of young people who are desperate to get into the industry, especially film, and don’t know where to start looking for work. Every job is swamped with applicants, too many for a busy person to go through properly, so chances are your application isn’t going to be seen”
  • “Scam”

http://www.myfirstjobinfilm.co.uk/ and http://www.myfirstjobintv.co.uk/


2. Shooting People

Of the 15 people who had paid to join Shooting People, only 1 had achieved any paid work through them. Many respondents did find value in their membership, over and above the access to paid or unpaid work:

  • “I was with Shooting People for a year and got one paid but well below NMW feature however from the contacts made i have had most of my future employment”
  • “I haven’t had any paid work from Shooting People but I found it very useful compared to other sites. Its good for freelancers who want to also do their own creative projects outside of freelancing, and gives you a chance to step up as a HOD”
  • “I haven’t seen any established companies advertising on Shooting People for unpaid work; only students, pet projects etc”
  • “The only website I would give positive feedback to is Shooting People, as it has a lot of resources and a strong platform for forums”
  • “(I would recommend) Shooting People. Great for those first, unpaid jobs (or low paid if you’re lucky!) where you can learn set etiquette and how the roles on a film set interact”

https://shootingpeople.org/


  1. Film & TV Pro

There were 32 subscribers to Film & TV Pro, of whom 6 had picked up paid work. They were only recommended by 3 people.

  • “Film and TV Pro (are poor value for money). I found the same job postings on free websites”.

http://www.filmandtvpro.com/


  1. ProductionBase

Of the 12 subscribers to ProductionBase, 5 had found paid work. Some felt that it was not a good site for Runners however, and one had been a member for three years but had not secured a single job.

  • “They now offer very few relevant job adverts”
  • “I don’t get the sense ProductionBase is good for Runners. I follow them on Twitter but haven’t seen any relevant jobs”
  • “ProductionBase had a new commissions section which was useful/interesting”
  • “ProductionBase is extremely expensive for £15 a month”
  • “ProductionBase did have excellent levels of service and a member of their staff did call me and help me with setting up my profile. However I still did not receive a single interview/second contact – I probably applied for 50+ positions”

http://www.productionbase.co.uk/


5. The Calltime Company

The Calltime Company came out of the survey as by far the most valued site. It was overwhelmingly popular with no negative feedback and many favourable comments. Of the 12 people who had subscribed, 11 had got paid work through the site and almost all of them would recommend it to others. The company only accepts a limited number of members on its books at any one time, and only by interview.

  • “The people that run it are brilliant, although I have only had some work, their post graduate pay as you go scheme is a great idea and more than fair”
  • “A new entrant would be unlikely to get into the call time company, but they do offer graduate placements now and then which is good”
  • “They get you work and don’t make false promises if they do put you on their books”
  • “They actually get you jobs”
  • “Unique to any other services and most certainly aren’t just after your money. They actively find you work when in need. You don’t therefore pay for nothing”
  • “Run by people who know the industry and are known by the industry. Friendly, helpful and cater to you as an individual”
  • “I’d describe Vicki and Tam as mentors rather than a recruitment company – they have always been on the end of a phone or email when I need advice and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them”

http://calltimecompany.com/


Many of the respondents to the survey also left general feedback about paid sites and life as a new starter in the industry.

  • “I don’t understand how come such a small industry as Film and TV in the UK have so many paid job-sites. We want to have access to all the jobs ads but we cant possibly pay to ever site. So I wonder how many am I missing for not having the budget to subscribe. It seems pretty unfair to me, we have to pay to have access to jobs ads that might not even turn into a job”.
  • “Finding a job is super difficult”
  • “Finding work in media industries is hard enough without websites like these giving hope to new starters, taking their money and leaving them out of pocket, confused and disheartened”
  • “It is really difficult to find entry level jobs, especially if you don’t live in London”
  • “No one should pay to find work. It’s an abhorrent and unscrupulous practice”
  • “I understand why people set these sites up but no other industry tries to make people pay to access job adverts and its especially difficult for people who are starting out that possibly can’t afford to pay to access information that a simple add to a facebook group would give them”
  • “Trying to make money out of people’s ambitions by promising exclusive access to job adverts is poor practice”
  • “It makes me angry as not everyone would be able to pay but everyone should have a chance at working in the industry they want”

Send private feedback to derrywatson@gmail.com

 

Tips for TV Runners

By no means are these tips exhaustive and most of it is probably common sense but just in case you’d like some pointers, please read on.

The list was compiled by contributors to the original  www.tvwatercooler.org forum for people that work in TV. They encompassed Commissioning Editors, Line Producers, Producers, Directors, Production Managers, Assistant Producers, Production Managers, Production Co-ordinators, Production Secretaries, Runners, Editors, Archive Producers & Researchers, Camera Operators, Sound Recordists, Engineers, Data Wranglers and more!

attitude

  1. Always have a nice smile on you. No need for manic grinning though. Just cheery will do.
  2. If you see your fellow Runners working hard and you don’t have anything to do – get stuck in to the tasks too. It will help your chances of future employment to show your willingness.
  3. If sent out with someone senior on a task/recce/shoot and they ask you about yourself – do not tell that person that you want to work in TV because it seems much easier to get into than film or music which are the two great loves in your life. Do not say that TV isn’t something you really like at all, or you really want to be a Presenter and this is just a stepping stone for you.
  4. When you are asked to do a boring job, e.g. help another runner organise the recycling, do not pull a face and say, “You must really hate me”, when all you have been asked to do is flatten and tape together three boxes. In other words, no matter how menial the task, approach with enthusiasm and perform to the best of your abilities.
  5. Ask questions about things you don’t understand and show your interest in the other things that are going on in the office or other departments. If you are particularly interested in something that’s going on that you are not directly involved with, it never hurts to ask if you can go there for a day or so to see what they are doing. It won’t always be possible but sometimes the Producer/PM may try and switch things around a bit so that you can at least shadow for one day.
  6. Usually if something gives you something to do, it will be important and need doing immediately. Do not get distracted from the job in hand. If someone asks you to do something when you are in the middle of a task, explain what you are doing and ask the second person to make the judgement on which is more urgent. If it is not obvious, always ask when tasks should be completed by.
  7. Prepare everything beforehand and organise well. Make sure all your media is properly labelled. Prepare for things to happen in advance of when they are scheduled to.
  8. Don’t be caught out by other peoples mess ups and don’t pass the buck – take ownership. If you take responsibility, people will entrust you with more responsibility.
  9. Never assume anything. Just because you may be diligent and efficient, doesn’t mean everyone else in this world is. So just because you’ve left a message for someone or sent a text/email, don’t assume they picked it up, or did anything about it.

callsheet

  1. This is a document containing all important info about the shoot/record: contacts, maps, Health & Safety, schedule, travel, accommodation, door codes, technical specifications, kit list, props list, talent, catering, car parking space allocation etc… It’s known as a ‘Callsheet’ because it will also contain the time of the day individuals are expected to be at the venue. This is known as a ‘Call Time’.
  2. Have a schedule, get a highlighter or several and really emphasise which bits you need to pay particular attention to – e.g. for compliance recordings on live events to make sure you know which ones you are responsible for.

cash

  1. If you are given a float to buy things on behalf of the production, you will be expected to sign a receipt to prove you were given the cash. Your float should always be same amount you were given and will be a mixture of receipts and cash when you reconcile it.
  2. When you have spent all of the money, you will be expected to produce receipts for all the money that has been spent and return any remaining cash. You must then fill out an Float Advance form. Sometimes this is called an Expenses Form. The purpose of the form is to prove the money spent has been accounted for by attaching the receipts and the Co-ordinator or Manager will then put codes on the form and enter it into the budget as money spent. Always ask your PC/PM to explain exactly how they prefer you to fill out the form as each company will be a bit different.
  3. If they don’t give you a wallet, get your own so it’s separate from your own personal money.
  4. Always get a receipt. Then immediately write on it what the item is if it is not evident. If it’s for food/drinks, write who you got them for or who was at the meal. Your Production Co-ordinator will need to know for the production company records.
  5. Unless specifically told to do so, you are not authorised to buy alcohol/cigarettes on the float as a general rule. There is also no drinking during work hours.
  6. Learn the difference between a credit card slip and a receipt. Your Production Manager and Accountant have no use for a credit card receipt. Always ask for a VAT receipt (not everything will have VAT applicable or every vendor will be registered for VAT but they will tell you when you ask and should be able to give you a till/handwritten receipt of some kind). This is very important because the production company must claim the VAT charge back from the government.
  7. Keep some Petty Cash vouchers on you for the supplier to sign if they can’t give you a receipt or you forget to get one.

catering

  1. Thinking about accessing your Facebook? Think “have I made that nice Producer a cup of coffee /tea today”. If the answer is no, do that first. In fact, get a round in and tidy up the kitchen area while you are about it. If anything is running out milk/teabags/bread, inform whomever in the office needs to restock it. This will usually be the Office Manager or Receptionist. Or it could be you.
  2. Most productions run on coffee and tea, so on your first day, find out how everyone takes their drinks and make a note of it, so when you see your team walking into the office or on location, you can have a drink waiting for them, the way they like it.
  3. Have clean cups & plates washed up before the lunch rush.
  4. If, when on a location shoot, you get sent for bacon sarnies, or other hot food, for the whole team from the local café, go in person on the first day and if you will be shooting in the same place the following day – try to ring the order through on the following day and pick it up. Organise your order in ascending order of seniority so the director / talent / DOP’s food is the hottest and freshest when you get back. That means that yours will be the coldest and soggiest I’m afraid although you’ll earn brownie points for attention to detail.
  5. Always treat the crew well. If you’re on a shoot with camera and sound but no camera assistant look after them both. If it’s a hot studio or sunny day and they are filming handheld actuality, they will both be getting hot, tired and dehydrated so keep them well stocked with water and high-energy snacks. But don’t let them treat you like you’re their bitch – you will have a dozen more duties to attend to as well.
  6. On a busy factual-based shoot, the camera & sound are often worked the hardest so don’t keep them hanging round for lunch & tea breaks either as when the camera’s not rolling nothing much is being achieved. If you’ve helped them out and they are a decent pair, they will put in a good word for you at the end of the day with the powers that be. A happy crew = a happy shoot!
  7. On a big event or studio shoot, check if your Producers and production (Production Manager, Co- ordinator, Secretary) have eaten, as they often have to work through breaks. Perhaps offer to get food put by for them for later.
  8. If looking after gallery or truck staff, ensure drinks always have lids for safety purposes.

comms

  1. On your first day, enter the production office and core team contacts to your phone address book.
  2. Email the current contact list to your personal email so that you can always access it wherever you are via email/web mobile.
  3. Only access Facebook/Twitter/whatever during lunch or when your feet are well and truly under the table. Think six months unless you have specific instruction to do so.
  4. Get into the habit of writing a ‘To Do’ list every day and ticking off your tasks as you do them. At the end of the day, start writing tomorrows list before you leave and copy across everything you didn’t get done today. This will help you to focus on the varied tasks you have been given by the entire team and get you used to prioritising.
  5. Try to remember Producers, Directors and Production Managers will be across a 101 things to with the production at any one time from casting to budget issues, so it may take them a bit longer to reply to an email. Your question about what colour paper they want the script on isn’t at the top of their priority list. Try to write all these questions down and at the end of the day, or when you can see they have a moment, go and speak to them and go through it all at once, instead of sending lots of small emails. One of the key things about being runner is being organised.
  6. If you don’t know which task is more time-sensitive, always ask your Production Co-ordinator or Manager to explain which should come first and why.
  7. If you are asked to do something and you can’t do it / don’t know how to do it / forget – always tell the person who asked you to do it as soon as possible. You have been given that job to do and if you don’t do it, it will still have to be done, so giving someone as much notice as possible to fix it will be your best course of action. Like ball cancer – ignoring it does not make it go away…
  8. Your team will sometimes talk a lot of shorthand and use industry language. Don’t pretend to know what something is or means if you don’t know. No one expects you to know everything. Ask someone to explain it to you at an appropriate moment and don’t be embarrassed – it shows you were taking it all in and you are keen to learn.
  9. NEVER address those older than 30 as ‘mate’.
  10. Learn a trick for remembering people’s names. A quick trick is to look people in the eye, and repeat their name again. People will then look you in the eye and say their name again or agree or nod or something. Let it sink in. And if required use a backup trick to remember is to rhyme something about them with their name – eg ‘smells like a drain – Adrian’. Do NOT do this if they are talent (a presenter) or at channel controller or commissioner level where you should know their bloody name.
  11. Whenever you make a booking (for a car, food – whatever) – double check it’s been received and actioned until whatever it is you’ve arranged actually unfolds before your very eyes.
  12. Always check with the rest of the team that it’s ok for you to leave the office/location/studio before you put your coat on at the end of the day.
  13. You will earn extra brownie points if you check if anyone needs anything doing before you prepare to leave.
  14. Ensure you have a sensible, personal email address. Your name is fine. ‘BigbangersDD@hotmail.com’ is not. Jokey email addresses promote a sense of unprofessionalism.
  15. Always put a subject line on emails that relate to the content. If the content changes – change the subject line, makes it far easier for people to find the email later.
  16. If you are shy and have trouble chatting to the production staff, a good way to get started is, ‘How are you today?’ or ‘How’s it going today’ or similar when you take their food + drink, they like the fact you care and it starts conversation.
  17. NEVER send ANY tape, DVD, hard disk, pen drive etc in snail mail unless specifically told to do so. You will usually need to take it somewhere in person or the Co-ordinator will need to organise a courier for it.
  18. Check the file naming conventions on the network if not evident. When you leave the production, other people will nee to use the information you have left and must be able to find it easily. Never save anything to the C:/ drive or Desktop – always on the production directory.

dress

  1. Dress appropriately for the day. Smart casual in the office is fine. Jeans, trainers, t-shirts all fine. They should be clean, preferably not ripped to show your bangers/nutsack and do not say ‘F**K’ or ‘C*NT’ anywhere on them. No one wants to see your thong/boxers either.
  2. Wear good sturdy sensible shoes that do up properly, not ridiculous sandals that will flap all the way down the corridor as you jog off to get something, and then trip you up when you have three boiling teas in your hands.
  3. On outdoor shoots make sure you have appropriate clothing, TV involves a lot of standing around freezing. Layer up.
  4. When working in entertainment or drama, either in studio or location, it is most practical to wear belted trousers with pockets or some kind of small satchel type affair, as typically you may have the following about your person:

– Dressing room spare keys
– Callsheet
– Guestlist
– Lanyard with essential phone number laminate attached to it
– Leatherman
– Personal mobile
– Pens
– Petty Cash Float
– Production mobile
– Running order
– Script
– Security passes
– Walkie Talkie with headset

editorial

  1. Don’t be afraid to offer input/ideas. Learn when to sit in the corner and keep quiet, and pick your moment carefully to offer your input. Whether it is well received or not will be determined largely by your timing.
  2. Whenever you finish a research task, even if it’s finding phone numbers of local taxi cabs, put the information into a Word file or an email that is clearly labelled and send it to the relevant person. Do not assume the fact you have not been asked for the information, as an excuse to use Facebook until you are asked for it.

hierachy

  1. The commissioner/client/host/actor is not your friend. They don’t know who you are and have little interest in you, unless you are feeding / watering / running out for their fags. It is not appropriate to approach them and ask them for a job/ back to yours. They will most likely not remember you next time you meet, so you should always be prepared to politely introduce yourself, if appropriate, every time you meet them. Of course, one would hope they may remember you from the previous day if you are working on a series…
  2. Observe senior team members/clients when in your vicinity and ensure they are fed and watered and have everything they need. If you are asked to organise something on their behalf, please check with your Production Manager first before you do it.

hours

  1. If you are due to finish at 1800, prepare yourself to stay until 1830 or later. Don’t arrange to meet your mate down the pub at 1810, sometimes work can overflow and to go beyond the call of duty without angst will be expected. Just don’t be rushing for the door on the dot.
  2. You may be required to stay late for which you will be obliged to do. Any weekend work will usually be compensated with paid days off. Often referred to as DOIL (day off in lieu).

loctrav

  1. Always have a tube map & A-Z in your bag / on your phone.
  2. If working in London, remember it is filthy and you will be on public transport for quite a large part of your day, which is full of filth too. In order to minimise catching colds, flu etc… always wash your hands with soap whenever you get to your destination. So get to work in the morning – wash your hands. Get home in the evening – wash your hands and probably your face too. Out on a run during the day? Wash your hands when you get back to the office. Do not touch face, lick fingers etc without hand washing or antibacterial hand gel first.Sounds a bit crazy but seriously you will find it makes a huge difference to how many colds/bouts of man-flu you get during the year.
  3. Always look up how to get to your destination before you leave and check how long it will take you. You can then tell the team where you are going and when you expect to be back.
  4. Ideally print off a route and map before you leave or input the postcode to your GPS if you have it on your phone.
  5. On a shoot keep a call sheet on you at ALL times… . And don’t lose It either! Your Producer won’t take too kindly to being called up by some random OR the document making its way to the Press.
  6. Learn correct radio etiquette and operation. NEVER swing your radio around by the aerial – it costs £250 to replace, which you will be liable for.
    LOCATIONS, Drama
    i. Step up! If the 3rd AD is called off for some reason (phone, toilet etc), fill their shoes. The 1st will appreciate that there’s someone there.
    ii. Keep your eyes peeled! Make sure that you always have eyes on the artists between takes – they have a habit of wandering off, and unfortunately it’s not possible to tie them all to a post.
    iii. Feed the front line! Keep some DECENT biscuits and hot drinks to hand for when the camera/sound guys have a few minutes rest. All too often the good stuff goes and they’re left with 5 packets of Tesco Value Bourbons to nibble on. That doesn’t go down well.
    iv. Communicate! Make sure everyone knows what’s going on at all times. If you’re doing a pick up, let the 2nd AD know if there’s traffic (no matter how bad, it’s always going to be slower than you’d hope). If there’s a scene change or cut, make sure that those around you know.v. Double check! If you’re asked to collect an artist for the next scene, check on your call sheet that you’ve got the right artist (3rds unfortunately, often mis-communicate resulting in red faces all round).
    vi. Courtesy! It’s important not to be big-headed about your job. You may have spent two years at college and three years at uni to get where you are, but you’re still at the bottom of the ladder. Courtesy must also extend to members of the public whom the shoot will often be inconveniencing. Explain nicely what’s actually happening and demonstrate how they may continue to go about their business without disturbing the shoot.

moving_on

  1. The UK TV industry is tiny and you will bump into the same people as you move from company to company. Your reputation is so important and regardless of whom you put as references on your CV, if your potential employer sees a show on your CV, and they know someone from that show, they will more than likely call them for a reference. There are always productions in the pipeline and regularly teams have to be put together at very short notice, this means that PM’s and Producers will go often assemble a team from personal recommendations and people they know.
  2. Network. The most painless way to do this is to go to the pub with your team after work. Particularly good to go when other people within the company will be there that you don’t know. You don’t have to stay for long and you could always just have a soft drink if you preferred. You never know when the person you chatted with about something random might see what your availability is for something else coming up at the company.

phone

  1. Listen to those around you and how they speak on the phone. Always be courteous to whomever is on the other end and speak clearly. Never swear at the caller.
  2. Whatever anyone else says or does, if a member of the public phones the production office about any show, treat them very courteously. That also applies if you are on a location shoot and come across people outside.
  3. Be polite because they are the customers and effectively pay your wages, one way or another. It is not cool or clever to assume you are better or know more just because they are “on the outside” and you are on the “in”.
  4. If the person they caller wants is not available, or not at their desk, you have a number of options:* Can you help with whatever the caller wants?
    * If you can’t help, take a basic message but remember to take their name, number and briefly what it’s about.
    * Suggest the caller emails the person they want. Give their company email address out only.
  5. As a rule, under no circumstances should you give out personal email addresses or mobile numbers. Always take the caller’s numbers /email address and get someone to call them back.

thingsnot

  1. It is not appropriate to sleep with anyone on the team or the crew, particularly, your boss. This often changes the dynamics of a professional team and can make it very difficult for you and your co-workers. You (not your boss) will be the one regarded unfavourably. Also consider that sleeping with your boss and sticking around for awkward pillow talk will probably result in you never working with them again.
  2. Under no circumstances should you come to work wired or pissed. It’s not appropriate. Ever.
  3. Never save the talent’s number in your phone then boast to all of your mates that he/she is your friend. It is likely they will encourage you to call the talent when you’re pissed and this is never a good thing!
  4. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES would it be good to ask the talent to sign your autograph book / broken arm cast / tits or pose for your Facebook pic.

kitlist

Decent, waterproof backpack to keep logs/release forms/petty cash/receipts safe and dry, together with all sorts of useful items, such as:

Bluetac
Cable ties
Chalk
Gaffer tape
Hand towel
Handwash gel
Hazard tape
J-Cloths
Lighter
Multi-tool, with penknife, screwdrivers, scissors etc.
Notepad
Pens/ Pencils
PVC tape
Sellotape
Torch
Wetwipes

PDF Version to download
RUNNER TIPS DOC_nov2011

Unpaid work experience – your questions answered

 

 So what’s the big issue?
The issue is that many Film and TV companies are breaking the law with regard to not paying young people the National Minimum Wage where it is due. They will take on someone as a “runner” or “work experience” (using the claim that it is “good for your CV” or “good experience”) and then not pay them. This is illegal. Every worker (with a few minor exceptions) is entitled to be paid at least the National Minimum Wage for every hour they work. The current minimum wage rates are here. (This is for short engagements, holiday pay will be paid at the end of a long contract unless you have taken holiday).

 


If it’s illegal, why do these companies do it?
Some do it because they don’t know the rules (and every employer with a duty of care should) and some do it because they think they can get away with it. The 2005 TVWRAP campaign highlighted the issue of illegal unpaid work in the TV industry which encouraged a lot of companies now to abide by the law of the land. The better companies (like Granada, RDF and Endemol) do not take on young people to do unpaid work, however there are still some companies who risk the wrath of the Inland Revenue by using young people as workers and not paying them.


But what about “work experience” or an “internship” – surely that doesn’t need to be paid?
If it is just “shadowing” or the work experience is part of a course, for a full time student only, organised by the relevant academic institution and is a required part of that course (i.e the student has to do the work experience to pass) then people on work experience or internships need not be paid the NMW. The National Council for Work Experience say this:

“Government legislation in respect of the National Minimum Wage means that UK employers can no longer offer unpaid work experience, unless they are doing it as part of their course”

http://www.work-experience.org/ncwe.rd/ … rs_149.jsp

The problem is that most companies use the phrase “work experience” to cover a multitude of sins. Proper work experience involves training and assessment, agreed goals and a plan – it is primarily of benefit to the young person involved. “Work experience” which involves someone coming in to an organisation and doing jobs is not work experience, it is work. If it is work the person involved must be paid at least the NMW, whether it involves some residual training benefit to that person or not. Also an individual cannot voluntarily forgo the right to be paid the NMW where it is due.


But aren’t these people “volunteers”?
The NMW rules re volunteers are designed to deal with the issue of clubs and charities who may have people who give their time freely and without obligation. Someone on work experience is not a volunteer if they are given tasks to carry out, set hours, set meal breaks, appear on a call sheet or are doing tasks that a paid member of staff would otherwise be doing. That is work, and that must legally be paid the NMW. As the PACT rules state (rewritten after a meeting with the DTI) “A work experience person who…is expected to obey instructions should be paid at least the national minimum wage”.

The other issue is the question of how “voluntary” this work experience really is when every young person who enters the TV industry has to do it as a condition of getting paid employment. A recent survey found that almost all young people have had to do at least 3 months unpaid work before they get a paid job in the industry. That makes the “voluntary” nature somewhat suspect.


Why should I care about this?
Firstly because it is manifestly unfair that keen young people should be exploited in this way, for their labour to be used as a way of propping up the budgets of a TV production company. Of all the people on a production team, why should the youngest, weakest and probably most hard working be treated in this way?

Secondly young people who do unpaid work have to have independent means to support themselves while they are unpaid – that usually means their parents or their own savings. It often means that the less well off are thereby denied an opportunity to pursue a career in Film and Television. Fair?

And one very good point made by others – if companies can get people to do their work for free, why should they ever pay a wage to anyone. That then cascades upwards so the next level up is devalued and then the next.

The inevitable end point – no-one values real TV skills and no-one wants to pay for them.

An exaggeration? You ask the nearest Make Up Artist what has happened to their industry…


Surely that’s the price to pay if people want to break into a highly competitive industry?
Apart from the fact that it is illegal to use people in this way, why should young people have to give their time and effort unpaid just because lots of people want to do it? Should the basic morality of “a fair day’s pay for a day’s work” be compromised just because the media is a “glamorous” career?


Never did me any harm – it toughens you up – you need to be tough in the TV industry, it’s good training.
Listen Grandad the world’s moved on since your day – in case you hadn’t heard they scrapped National Service as well. The “toughening up” argument is nonsense – there are many skills you need to be a good TV Researcher/Producer/Cameraman/Director etc; the ability to generate good ideas, tell a story, frame a shot, capture good sound, prioritise, write good dialogue, manage people, manage budgets, have vision etc etc. Being able to live on fresh air is way way down the list.


OK I’m convinced, what can I do about all these companies who are exploiting young people and breaking the law?
Tell everybody about it – let everyone know who the offenders are right here.

Oh and join the union (BECTU) too – it really is the best way to start your career!

And of course you can also shop the offenders to the Inland Revenue. It’s easy to do (details available through this site). You can do it anonymously and the Revenue will never reveal your name. Or, if you don’t want to, PM me (click on my name) or send me an email (derrywatson@gmail.com) and I’ll do it for you. Your anonymity is guaranteed to be sacrosant – no-one will ever know.

HMRC always want to know about the people who break this law. And when HMRC get interested in a company on an issue like this, they tend to start looking at all aspects of a company’s finances – companies will soon realise it just isn’t worth the risk for a few hundred quid…


Unpaid work in TV is on its way out – we’ve come a long way in five years, let’s kill it for good.


*Edited to update the NMW rates*


DO YOU HAVE A STORY TO TELL?
Send your story privately and in confidence to MARK WATSON

You and the minimum wage

Did you know that employers can’t avoid paying the National Minimum Wage if it’s due by:

… saying or stating that it doesn’t apply
… making a written agreement saying someone isn’t a worker or that they’re a volunteer

That’s what the law says – it’s all in here…
https://www.gov.uk/employment-rights-for-interns

gov

Oh, and if you have done work for free in the past (other than work experience as part of your course) there’s a calculator here which will allow you to claim what you are owed. You can claim for all your underpayments going back over the last 6 years!
https://www.gov.uk/am-i-getting-minimum-wage

It doesn’t matter how big or small your employer was, or whether you were full or part time, or you were getting expenses, or you agreed to do it, or even if you signed a contract saying you would work for free. As long as you were entitled to the National Minimum Wage you can still get it.

Don’t believe me? Need some help? Contact Mark Watson for some confidentialfree help and advice on getting paid what you are owed.

See also How Much Should I Be Paid?

Production Management for TV and Film – Book

Production_Management_for_TV_and_Film__The_Professional_s_Guide_Professional_Media_Practice__Amazon_co_uk__Linda_Stradling__Books

“What Linda Stradling doesn’t know about production management isn’t worth knowing” The Documentary Filmmakers Group

Playing a key role in helping producers to interpret and realise the directors’ vision, production managers are responsible for all organisational aspects of TV and film production – from start to finish. Now this essential handbook tells you how it’s done. Written by highly experienced production manager and specialist tutor, Linda Stradling, this is a complete guide to the profession. It includes details on self-organisation and the best systems to use, budgets, schedules and cost control, hiring and firing, contracts, insurance, setting up a shoot, dealing with contributors, acquiring copyright, people skills and ethics. So whether you’re just starting out or want to improve your knowledge and skills, this is the book for you.

Amazon link

How to Get a Job in Television – Book

How_to_Get_a_Job_in_Television__Build_Your_Career_from_Runner_to_Series_Producer_Professional_Media_Practice__Amazon_co_uk__Elsa_Sharp__Books

TV is a notoriously difficult industry to get into and progress within. There is no set career path and 70% of applicants rely on contacts to get a foothold. Based on the author’s experience as a TV researcher, series producer and recruitment executive, this contemporary guide will help thousands of hopefuls break into TV. It is packed with inside information and advice from training bodies, HR executives, and people working in the industry at every level, including for example: Conrad Green – the multi award-winning British Executive Producer of American Idol and Dancing With the Stars (US) Tim Hincks – Chairman of Endemol (makers of Big Brother) Grant Mansfield – Chairman and MD of RDF Television Kate Phillips – Head of Development at BBC TV From the do’s and don’ts of work experience, the role of the researcher, the ‘seven stages of CV’, pathways to series producer and how to move up the ladder, this is the TV job hunter’s bible.

Amazon link

An Expert’s Guide To Getting Into TV – Book

An_Expert_s_Guide_to_Getting_into_TV_eBook__Siubhan_Richmond__Amazon_co_uk__Kindle_Store

A comprehensive and practical guide to finding work and selling yourself effectively for an entry-level job in television production. 

Written by an award-winning executive producer of many years experience, it tells it how it really is in the TV business and how to make the most of modern technology to develop your media skills. 

In a competitive job market applicants for work in the media need to use every trick in the book to get ahead. The 25,000 word guide is packed with practical techniques on selling yourself, finding the available jobs, gaining work experience and includes many links to invaluable online resources. 

It includes detailed advice on writing an effective CV along with real-life examples; how to compose a strong covering letter; what to expect at interview and advice from a range of experienced and respected media professionals. 

There is also important advice on avoiding exploitation in the work experience market; the importance of networking; what to study for a career in TV and advice on developing suitable skills. From the reality of a TV runner’s job to how to deal with periods of unemployment, it covers all areas of interest to anyone trying to get that first job in TV. 

ALL PROFITS FROM THE SALE OF THIS BOOK ARE CURRENTLY GOING TO THE GENESIS RESEARCH TRUST CHARITY. I AM RAISING FUNDS FOR THEM AS PART OF A CYCLING CHALLENGE IN AFRICA IN NOVEMBER 2014.

Amazon link

CV Writing Tips

If you are finding it difficult to write your CV for the TV/Film production industry – here are some starting tips of what to include pasted below. Downloadable pdf for your reference attached – TV CV writing tips

TV CV WRITING TIPS

This list is designed as some pointers to get you started and is in no way exhaustive.

Before you start – it is worth considering if it more useful to have a number of CVs for different job roles. Each one must be consistent in style but make easy reading for an employer in whichever industry you are working. E.g. have one as a TV Runner and another as a web designer (although in that specific instance it would be useful to list your html skills in your TV CV).

* Call your CV filename ‘ YOUR NAME – YOUR JOB TITLE – YEAR‘ so that employers can easily find you if they save it in a folder.

* Put your full name, no nicknames. Then your location (rather than your full address, it’s better for posting in social media), email and your mobile at the top (ensure your email address is appropriate and NOT sexgod69@btinternet.com or similar),

* Put your job title at the top near your name. Employers want to know what you do very quickly and will spot it straight away.

* A personal statement should be a short paragraph. 2 or 3 lines on who you are, what you do and your current skills. Genre experience is also helpful. (Learn the difference between what is a genre and what is a technical format…)

* Next do some bullet points of your key skills e.g.
• Fluent French and German language skills
• Confident shooter using [name types of camera]
• Basic FCP / digitizing
• Live Studio & O.B experience
• Archive clearance

* Now list your credits (a ‘credit’ is just something you’ve worked on, and nothing to do with an on-screen credit). Each one should have the same format and should detail the following in bold to be easily scanned by an employer:

List your credits like this, starting with the most recent:
Production Name | Prod. Co. for Broadcaster | 
Your Role
One line is sufficient to describe the programme and include the broadcaster. 2 lines description max.

* If you are relatively junior, you could briefly mention tasks that were delegated to you by a more senior person.

* Keep all your TV work together and list anything else you think could be useful in an ‘other employment’ section after your TV work if you feel this is supportive.

* If you have credits on adverts or promos – list the brands or bands

* Briefly list your education. Bullet points are best.

* Any relevant training should go last right at the bottom and you should list exactly which course you completed and the date. So find out the name and governing body of the course. First Aid, Health & Safety, Hostile Environment courses are as important as technical equipment training.

* You can list your references if you want to. Be sure to ask the person whose details you will be including BEFORE you do this. Also, if you provide them as a reference in an interview, be sure to tell them before the potential employer actually calls them!

*IMPORTANT: In consideration of new GDPR data protection regulations, Talent Managers across the industry are requesting that CVs should include a statement of consent permitting them to continue handling them in the traditional way. Without explicit permission they will not be able to pass on your CV without coming back to you for further consent. Add this or similar text to your footer:

GDPR Statement: This CV may be kept on file and distributed for employment purposes

* Your CV should be around 2 pages long. One page if you are a Runner and no more!

*Check your spelling and grammar. Do not write “drivers license”, it is incorrect. Use these words: “driving licence”.

*Do not combine your student film making experience with your professional work.

*Name your CV . Give it your name and your job title. Do not say you are a Producer or Director or Editor if you are a Runner. If you are a runner, the PM wants to see your running experience, they are not interested in your producing or directing experience.

*Always write something in the email when you send your CV in application for a job. If you can’t be bothered writing to say what job you are applying for and why, they may well not bother opening the attachment!

*Be straight. Be honest. Do not big yourself up; it will not get you the job and you will be found out!

FURTHER READING
http://youdbetterwork.com/creating-the-perfect-cv/

Creating a cover email

Becoming a runner in film and TV

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A runner is a key entry-level position into the industry. Providing on-the-job-training, a runner’s main role is to assist with the smooth running of the production office and the studio or location floor. No two days are typically the same: you can be asked to make cups of tea, photocopy scripts, call sheets, schedules and other production paperwork, go shopping for essential groceries to using email, key software such as word and excel. This means the role can be very varied and at times demanding – but it’s a great way to learn new skills and make important contacts.

Read the full article at The Production Guild
http://www.productionguild.com/training/becoming-a-runner